I'm in awe of good mothers—those heroines all around me who sacrifice daily out of love for their children. In our society, we give motherhood plenty of lip service. We pat moms on the head, bring them flowers on Mother's Day, and honor them before crowds. But at the end of the day, we don't extend them the same respect we would a professor, a dentist, an accountant or a judge. Women who choose full-time mothering are often put in a box by their friends and former colleagues—a container labeled "just a mom."
I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one of the greatest spiritual teachers there is. To create an environment that's stimulating and nurturing, to pass on a sense of responsibility to another human being, to raise a child who understands that he or she is created from good and is capable of anything—I know for sure that few callings are more honorable. To play down mothering as small is to crack the very foundation on which greatness stands.
The world can only value mothering to the extent that women everywhere stand and declare that it must be so. In our hands, we hold the power to transform the perception of motherhood. Whether we decide to work full-time while raising children, stay home with our kids, or bear no children at all, we need to understand that any put-down of the decision to mother is a threat to women's choices everywhere. We should no longer allow a mother to be defined as "just a mom." It is on her back that great nations are built. We should no longer allow any woman's voice to be drowned out or disregarded. As we affirm other women, and as we teach our sons, husbands and friends to hold them in the highest regard, we honor both the mothers whose shoulders we've stood on and the daughters who will one day stand tall on ours.
In May—and every other month of the year—I honor and thank every great spiritual teacher who goes by the name of Mother.